Why in News?
As the death toll from weather-related accidents in the United States reached 34, the bomb cyclone continued to cause destruction and leave millions without power.
- A bomb cyclone is a large, powerful storm that forms in the mid-latitudes. It features low pressure at its centre, weather fronts, and an array of associated weather, including blizzards, severe thunderstorms, and heavy precipitation.
- It turns into a bomb when its central pressure decreases very quickly—by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.
- When a cyclone “bombs”, or or undergoes bombogenesis, this indicates that it has access to the best conditions for fortifying elements like a lot of heat, moisture, and rising air.
Why is it called Bomb Cyclone?
- The majority of cyclones don’t intensify quickly like this.
- Forecasters are on high alert because bomb cyclones have the potential to do serious damage.
- Combining the words “cyclogenesis”, which depicts the development of a cyclone or storm, and “bomb”, which, well, is pretty self-explanatory, we get the term “bombogenesis”.
- This can occur when air over warm ocean waters and air over cold air masses collide.
- Bombogenesis, which generates a bomb cyclone, is a process that forms this quickly intensifying meteorological phenomenon.
How does it occur?
- Heat and moisture are in great supply over the warmer ocean.
- However, as chilly continental air passes overhead and a significant temperature differential result, the lower atmosphere becomes erratic and buoyant.
- Clouds and precipitation are created when rising, cooling, and condensing air.
Where does it most frequently occur?
- One of the areas where bombogenesis is most prevalent is along the US coast.
- The reason for this is that storms in the mid-latitudes—a temperate region north of the tropics that encompasses the entire US—get their energy from significant temperature disparities.
- The cool land and the warm Gulf Stream current create a natural thermal contrast along the US East Coast in the winter.
GS PAPER II NEWS
Foreign Policy of India
Why in News?
2022 was a challenging year in terms of geopolitics and diplomacy, particularly in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
How did India handle the Ukraine Crisis?
Following Non-Alignment Policy:
- As the conflict in Ukraine grew more divisive between the United States and the European Union on the one hand, and Russia on the other, the administration clarified its definition of “non-alignment” in an effort to maintain balance.
- The Indian Prime Minister, on one side, made his discomfort with the war clear directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin with the words “This era is not for war” and on the other hand refused to accept western sanctions, growing military and oil trade with Russia, and seeking rupee-based payment mechanisms to facilitate them.
Voting against the Resolution:
- Most importantly, India made the decision to abstain from voting in more than a dozen resolutions at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Human Rights Commission, and other multilateral platforms that sought to condemn Russia for the invasion and humanitarian crisis.
- India’s stand was guided by its national interests, telling those who expected India to take sides, “Tough luck if [our policy] doesn’t meet your expectations”.
What were the Other Highlights in Foreign Policy in 2022?
Returning to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs):
- In 2022, India returned to Free Trade Agreements, after a hiatus of several years when the Modi government had called for a review of all FTAs, scrapped all Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and walked out of the 15-nation Asian Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
- In 2022, India signed trade agreements with the UAE and Australia, and hopes to progress on talks with the EU, Gulf Cooperation Council and Canada for others. India also joined the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF), although it later decided to stay out of trade talks.
Joining U.S. led Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF):
India also joined the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF), although it later decided to stay out of trade talks.
What about Ties with Neighbours?
In the neighbourhood, India’s foreign policy was marked by economic assistance to Sri Lanka in the midst of its collapse.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal
India’s foreign policy is characterised by regional energy and trade agreements with Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal that may lead to the emergence of a South Asian energy grid.
Central Asian countries
- India has also strengthened ties with Central Asian countries on connectivity.
- India has restarted efforts to resurrect the much-delayed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project.
- India also talked about how to utilise the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to its best advantage.
- Additionally, steps have been taken to operationalize Iran’s Chabahar port, which can offer Central Asian nations a secure, viable, and unhindered route to the sea.
- In order to improve connectivity between India and Central Asian nations, the Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridor (ITTC) was also considered.
Afghanistan and Mayanmar
- By opening a “technical mission” in Kabul and sending the foreign secretary to Myanmar to talk about border cooperation, the government maintained communication with oppressive regimes like the Myanmar Junta and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
- India chose not to participate in a UNSC vote earlier in December 2022 that demanded Myanmar put an end to the violence and release political prisoners.
Iran and Pakistan:
- India has refrained from criticizing Pakistan and Iran, where protests against the murder of an activist have drawn thousands of people to the streets.
- However, relations with Pakistan are still sour, and there will be a major showdown between the two countries’ foreign ministers at the UN in December 2022.
What Progress has been made in the LAC-China Standoff?
- An unsuccessful Chinese PLA attempt to seize Indian installations at Yangtse in Arunachal Pradesh concluded the year, portending more severe fighting in 2023, despite a visit by China’s foreign minister to Delhi and disengagement at several stand-off areas.
- Despite the fraught status of the relationship, India is due to host the Chinese President twice in 2023 at the SCO and G-20 summits, increasing the likelihood that negotiations to end the deadlock will take place.
Current Challenges in India’s Foreign Policy
China-Pakistan Strategic Nexus:
- The Pakistan-China strategic nexus, which seeks to alter the status quo at the contested borders and undermine India’s strategic security, is the greatest threat India currently faces.
- Sino-Indian ties have been seriously harmed by China’s relentless efforts to alter the status quo at the Line of Actual Control since May 2020.
- Another issue that worries India is how to counter China’s incursions into South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
- China is constructing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan (passing through Indian Territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), the China-Nepal Economic Corridor, the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, and dual use infrastructure along the Indian Ocean coast as part of the much-heralded Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Balancing Big Power Relations:
- Due to its strategic autonomy, India is unable to join any military coalitions or partnerships that are hostile to other nations or groups of nations.
- India has historically been seen by the West as being closer to the Soviet Union or Russia. India’s strong participation in the SCO, BRICS, and Russia-India-China (RIC) forum has heightened these attitudes.
- India must rely on external balancing in the Indo-Pacific to resolve the security conundrums offered by the hybrid Pakistan-China threats in order to counterbalance an assertive China.
- This viewpoint should be taken into consideration when analysing India’s participation in QUAD and the signing of foundational agreements with the US, Japan, France, UK, and Indonesia.
- Refugee Crisis: India has taken in some of the most refugees in the world, despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.
- Here, finding a balance between national interest and human rights protection is difficult. India still has a lot it can do to help with finding long-term solutions as the Rohingya situation develops.
- These acts will be crucial in deciding India’s position on human rights in the region and around the world.
- In order for the advantages of growth to reach the poorest of the poor in the nation, India should work toward developing an external environment that is favourable for an inclusive development of India.
- Additionally, make sure that India has a voice in international forums and has the ability to sway public opinion on global concerns like terrorism, climate change, disarmament, and changes to international institutions of governance.
- Mahatma Gandhi was right when he argued that politics without ethics and morals would be terrible. India should advance toward collective growth while restoring its moral hegemony in the global community.
- India’s foreign policy is designed to be proactive, adaptable, and pragmatic because we live in a dynamic world and need to act fast when circumstances change.
GS PAPER II
PRESIDENT OF INDIA INAUGURATES THE PROJECT “DEVELOPMENT OF SRISAILAM TEMPLE IN ANDHRA PRADESH” UNDER PRASHAD SCHEME
Why in News?
- The project has been sanctioned and executed under PRASHAD scheme viz. National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive of the Ministry of Tourism.
PRASHAD scheme: It is a central sector Scheme which aims to focus on integrated infrastructure development to harness pilgrimage and heritage tourism destinations for employment generation and economic development.
About Srisailam Temple (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh)
- It is built on the top of the Nallamala hills situated on the banks of river Krishna. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva (Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy) and Goddess Parvati (Goddess Bhramaramba Devi).
- It is the only temple in India significant to both Saivism and Shaktism.
- The presiding deity is Brahmaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy in the shape of Lingam.
- It is considered one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas of Goddess Parvati.
- It is also classified as one of the Paadal Petra Sthalam (glorified in Tamil Tevaram hymns).
- It has earliest reference in Pulumavi’s Nasik Inscription (2nd Century) of Satavahana Dynasty.
- It has Ikshavakus Patronage (200-300 AD) with its golden age under the Reddi Kings (1325-1448).
- Chalukya, Kakatiyas and Vijayanagara Empire also contributed to its development.
GS PAPER II
EXPEDITE CATEGORISATION OF DENOTIFIED, NOMADIC, SEMI-NOMADIC TRIBES (DNT/NT/SNT)
Why in News?
The Parliamentary panel on Social Justice and Empowerment has pulled up the Union government over the “very slow” process to categorise over 260 denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes under either the SC/ST/OBC lists.
Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes
- These are the most underprivileged and deprived communities.
- Communities that were “notified” as “born criminals” through a number of legislation, beginning with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, are now known as DNTs (Denotified).
- The Independent Indian Government revoked these Acts in 1952, and these villages were “De-Notified.”
- Some of these communities that were de-notified also included migratory groups.
- Communities that are nomadic or semi-nomadic are ones that travel around rather than residing in one location permanently.
- Nomadic tribes and tribes that were not previously notified have never had access to private property or home ownership.
- Some DNTs are not included in any of the SC, ST, or OBC categories, even though the majority of DNTs are spread throughout the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories.
- Since Independence, numerous commissions and committees have been established, and they have discussed these communities’ issues.
- These include the Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh).
- In 1949, the Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee (it was based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed),
- In 1953, the Kaka Kalelkar Commission—also known as the first OBC Commission—was established.
- In 1980, the B P Mandal Commission constituted also made some recommendations on the issue.
- According to the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC), DNTs have been unfairly maligned as criminally inclined and used by law enforcement officials and members of the general society.
- Under the chairmanship of Justice M N Venkatachaliah, the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) was established.
- About 10% of the population in India, is Denotified and Nomadic.
- While there are roughly 150 Denotified Tribes, the population of Nomadic Tribes consists of about 500 different communities.
Challenges Faced by Nomadic Tribes
- Lack of Basic Infrastructure Facilities: The communities lack access to amenities including drinking water, shelter, and sanitary facilities. Additionally lacking are amenities for healthcare and education.
- Bad Treatment by Local Administration: Because they were once stigmatised as criminals, the local government and police still treat them as such and torture them.
- Lack of Social Security Protection: Because they move about a lot, they do not have a permanent residence. As a result, they are not covered by social security, are not given ration cards or adhar cards, etc., and are therefore not eligible for government welfare programme’ benefits.
- These communities’ caste classification is not entirely clear; in some states, some of the communities fall under the SC category, while in other states, some of the communities fall under the OBC category.
- However, the majority of these groups lack caste certificates, making it impossible for them to participate in government welfare programmes.
What developmental efforts are being made in relation to this?
- Dr. Ambedkar Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarship for DNTs:
- The launch of this centrally sponsored programme in 2014–15 was done so that DNT students who did not fall under the SC, ST, or OBC categories would be taken care of.
- Pre-matric Scholarships for DNT Students is a programme that aids in educating DNT children, particularly female DNT children.
- Nanaji Deshmukh Scheme for Constructing the DNT Boys’ and Girls’ Hostels:
- State governments, UT administrations, and central universities work together to carry out this centrally sponsored scheme, which was introduced in 2014–15.
- The aim of the scheme is to provide hostel facilities to those DNT students; who are not covered under SC, ST or OBC; to enable them to pursue higher education.
- Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs:
- In addition to free competitive exam tutoring, it also promises to offer housing help, health insurance, and livelihood programmes.
- It guarantees spending of Rs. 200 crores over a five-year period beginning in 2021–22.
- Implementing this plan is the responsibility of the DWBDNCs (Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities).
- Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Communities
- Under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, DWBDNC was founded in accordance with the Societies Registration Act of 1860 with the intention of putting welfare programmes into action.
- The DWBDNC was established on February 21st, 2019, with Bhiku Ramji Idate serving as its chairman.
GS PAPER III
Why in News?
Regenerative farming techniques enable farmers in Madhya Pradesh to reduce the need for frequent irrigation, which saves water and energy.
What is Regenerative Agriculture?
- India was saved from starvation during the 1960s Green Revolution, which also made India the largest groundwater extractor in the world.
- India extracts 251 cubic km of groundwater year, or more than 25% of the global total, according to the UN’s World Water Development Report, 2022, with 90% of this water going to agriculture.
- Micronutrients and organic carbon are currently severely and widely deficient in Indian soils.
- If agriculture is to continue to feed the country’s undernourished population — 224.5 million, according to the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2022 — and drive its economy, it must coexist peacefully with nature rather than fighting it.
About Regenerative agriculture
Regenerative agriculture is a holistic farming system that emphasises the improvement of biodiversity, soil health, food quality, water quality, and air quality through techniques like minimising the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, minimising tillage, incorporating livestock, and using cover crops.
It adheres to the following principles:
- Utilize conservation tillage to reduce soil dispersion.
- Crop diversification will interrupt pest and disease life cycles and replenish nutrients.
- Utilize cover crops to maintain soil cover.
- Integrate livestock, which enriches manure to the soil and serves as a source of carbon sinks.
Advantages of Regenerative Agriculture
- It advances sustainable agriculture by aiming to not only improve but also maintain resources like soil and water.
- Healthy soil aids in better water transmission, filtration, and agricultural runoff, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
- Regenerative farming techniques reduce the energy required by irrigation equipment like pumps.
- A healthy soil contributes to higher water use efficiency by storing, transmitting, filtering, and reducing agricultural runoff.
- According to studies, per 0.4 hectare with a 1% increase in soil organic matter has a greater capacity to store water by more than 75,000 litres.
India’s Efforts to Promote Regenerative Agriculture
National Organic Farming Project:
- The Indian Institute of Farming System Research (ICAR) in Meerut has been conducting the nation’s longest experiment on organic farming since it began in 2004.
Intensification of Rice Systematically:
- A technique that increases yields by planting seeds farther apart and using organic manure.
Zero-Budget Natural Farming:
- It is also referred to as Subhash Palekar Natural Farming and places a strong emphasis on creating and using inputs created from fruit, cow dung, and urine, among other things, as well as crop residue.
Samaj Pragati Sahyog:
- It is a grassroots organisation that advocates using natural pest control methods, such as composting and recycling crop residues, using farmyard manure, using cattle urine, and applying tank silt.
- In order to measure the amount of water saved, field tests with 1,000 farmers were undertaken in four districts of Madhya Pradesh and one district of Maharashtra between 2016 and 2018.